After a pair of edge-of-your-seats semifinals series, it’s no surprise that the top two teams at the end of the elimination round are the ones battling for the PBA Governor’s Cup trophy. It’s only appropriate. Like giving a girl a goodnight kiss after a nice date.
There’s no other way to put the upcoming best-of-five Finals duel (Game 1 starts 8 p.m. tomorrow, July 1) in perspective than repeat vs. revenge. San Mig Coffee will look to defend its title en route to the franchise’s first ever and only the league's fifth Grand Slam, while Rain or Shine is raring to get even after losing to SMC in the Philippine Cup Finals. Do-it-all import Marqus Blakely will be pumped up to try and take home another ring with the Mixers, while his prolific counterpart AZ Reid hopes to finally win one in his third tour of duty for the Elasto Painters.
If their elimination round match-up is any indication (Reid buried a tough jumper with less than four seconds left to lift RoS), this promises to be a good one.
So who’ll hoist the much-coveted hardware? Will former RoS shock trooper Ronnie Matias troll his former teammates? Or more importantly, who’ll get the chance to see our June cover girl Erika Padilla soaking wet inside their locker room? Let’s discuss some of the key points of the series aided by various tweets and Instagram posts of the players!
Rain or Shine
PPG – 101.2
OPP PPG – 100.6
FG% - 43.5
RPG – 48.2
APG – 19.8
San Mig Coffee
PPG – 89.0
OPP PPG – 91.2
FG% - 43.0
RPG – 52.6
APG – 17.6
OFFENSE VS. DEFENSE
Okay, before the photos and tweets, let’s get this out of the way.
The plot is as overplayed as “Let it Go” but the finals is building up to be another classic match-up of offense vs. defense. The Mixers allowed 91.2 PPG in the semis but held Talk ‘N Text to a ghastly 38.8 percent shooting. Man-to-man, zone, or even full-court press, San Mig can put the cuffs on, especially during winning time. The Elasto Painters, on the other hand, easily averaged over a hundred points against Alaska with their up-tempo, gung-ho style, hoisting an Antoine Walker-esque 31.4 three-pointers per game.
The old hoops maxim says that defense wins championships and we’re sure San Mig is nodding in agreement. Rain or Shine, however, has never subscribed to conventions and clichés.
THE BIG THREE
(Photo via @jamesyap18 on Instagram)
It’s a bit of a stretch to compare them to San Antonio’s Big Three but we’ll do it anyway. The trio of James Yap (averaging 24 PPG and 66.6% 3PT FGs in their last two outings), Marc Pingris, and PJ Simon is the PBA’s Timmy-Tony-Manu. They’re proven winners, they’ve remained relevant, and well, they’re not-so-young. Hence the mandatory post-game ice bag sessions to soothe those aching muscles.
Like in the Commissioner’s Cup Finals, fatigue will be a major factor for the Mixers’ Big Three. They have an average age of 33 and they played an average of 35.5 minutes in their last two games. On the other hand, except obviously for Reid, only Jeff Chan clocked in at least 30 minutes per outing in the semis (he barely made it at exactly 30 MPG).
Can Yap, Ping, and Simon hold on for another title run? Or will their legs and emotional strain finally give in?
If today’s kids have #YOLO, San Mig’s Big Three are yelling #YELO!
ANG SWEETIE-PIE NG TONDO